2008-09-02

Condom Understanding

Yesterday was the first presentation to our ICP client, the definitive end of Phase I. ICPs usually follow a four phase format:

I: Industry Analysis - understand the client's industry and which factors are key to succeeding in it
II: Company Analysis - benchmark the client against those key success factors, identify gaps, and recommend initiatives to close them
III: Issue Analysis - take one of those initiatives and work it out in great detail to provide very specific recommendations on which actions the company should take
IV: Implementation - provide a plan for and participate in the implementation of change

Our project is a little different, however. The client arrived with a firm idea of which issues they wanted worked. Accordingly we combined the industry and company analyses into Phase I and used it as an objective validation of the specific issues on which the client wanted to focus. Our conclusions were that yes, supply chain mattered to this industry, yes, the client had significant room for improvement and, in fact, if they didn't address their supply chain strategy immediately, they would soon find themselves in a world of hurt.

Three of our client stakeholders--including one board member--came down to IMD. I was honored to be selected by my team to make this first presentation, key to setting the tone for the rest of the project. Our team worked long and hard to produce a quality deliverable and wanted to make sure that the presentation reflected that. Although I had to adapt my usual "jovial" style to the serious, Swiss-German audience, I think it went well. This should largely be credited to the team (including Corey, our faculty advisor), who offered me very helpful feedback during the several dry runs we went through.

There was one snafu, though, and it occurred at the very beginning. I was presenting with the display behind me and one of my teammates' laptops in front of me, controlling the powerpoint presentation. While presenting one of the first slides, a meeting reminder popped up on the laptop, obscuring much of the screen. It wasn't visible on the display behind me, however, so no one else knew about it. As I contemplated whether or not just to continue presenting that way, my mouth was on autopilot. I was supposed to say that our objective for the meeting was to build a "common platform of understanding" from which to launch the rest of the project. However, what came out was a "condom platform of understanding." Oops.

After that, though, it was pretty smooth sailing. We're glad to have Phase I behind us and today will immerse ourselves in Phase II: conceiving an optimization model for warehouse locations and transportation costs within Europe. Our next presentation is in 10 days--bring it on!

1 comment:

StartBreakingFree.com said...

Haha, Freudian slip...I'm sure you handled it like a pro Bryan!